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Species News from the Field

  • Capacity building highlights in 2015

    From 11th to 14th of August, Raphali Andriantsimanarilafy, reptiles lead researcher at Madagasikara Voakajy, followed a training Distance Sampling at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. The main objective of this training is to help researchers in the world working on population assessment to have a good knowledge on how to use and how work Distance software. Distance sampling is one method using point or line transect for collecting data in the field. Many researchers from different country or institutions working on different taxa attended this workshop. The training was given by the experts on Distance Sampling from the University of St Andrews. Back in Madagascar, he used (and will continue to use) his newly learned skills to analyse our existing data, and design future research on reptiles and other species within our organization. 


  • Herps team surveying the population structure, microhabitat and activities of Mantella cowanii

                    Mantella cowanii is classified as Endangered by the IUCN red list of threatened species due to its very restricted area of occupancy to a few sites. In addition to that, the species is mainly threatened by the habitat loss. The conservation efforts through the Action Plan Mantella cowanii (APMC) seem to be positive for the species has been down listed from Critically Endangered to Endangered in 2014.

  • Calumma tarzan


    Calumma tarzan, or Tarzan’s chameleon, was discovered in 2009 in the Anosibe An’Ala district.Subsequent research shows that this species is endemic to the district, where it is only know from three small forest fragments: near the village Tarzanville, Ambatofotsy forest and Ampotaka forest.


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New Publications

  • file iconThe supply of illegal tortoise meat to Toliara City, south-western Madagascar

    A range of endemic and protected vertebrate species from Madagascar are threatened by the demand for bushmeat. We report on the number of discarded carapaces from illegally killed Critically Endangered radiated tortoises Astrochelys radiata in an urban centre in south-west Madagascar. 

  • file iconHabitat use by the endemic Malagasy bat Hipposideros commersoni in a littoral forest

    We investigated habitat use by the endemic Malagasy bat Hipposideros commersoni in evergreen littoral rainforest during the wet season in 2006, in order to better inform conservation guidelines. We used radiotracking to locate roosting and foraging sites.

  • file iconBat News Winter 2015

    This winter in the UK (summer in Madagascar), the Bat News of Bat Conservation Trust features the Bats of Madagascar. Read the full article here (icon Bat News Winter 2015).

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Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca)


This striking amphibian Mantella aurantiaca is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. This means that is has a high chance of extinction. It is only known from only a few localities around Moramanga in eastern Madagascar. The main threats to the species are conversion of humid  forest into farmland and bush fires. Collection for the international pet trade is permitted but is not considered to be a major threat to wild populations.


Madagasikara Voakajy's attention was drawn to this species in 2007 when it was discovered in two new sites north of Moramanga. To read more about the results from this survey see Geographical distribution of three species of Malagasy poison frogs of high conservation priority: Mantella aurantiaca, M. crocea and M. milotympanum.

We followed up this discovery with a survey in 2008 of all known sites for this species. The startling discovery was that none of the sites where this species occurs was found in a protected area. Furthermore, whilst the Torotorofotsy wetland had historically received most attention as a key site for the species, we found highest abundance and the most breeding ponds in the Mangabe forest, south west of Moramanga (Randrianavelona et al. 2010).

Based on these findings we worked with local communities and the Malagasy government to propose the Mangabe forest as a new protected area. This work was funded by USAID's Miaro program and the forest was awarded provisional protected area status in October 2008. Around the same time we also started to support local communities to sustainably manage the natural resources in the forest, in a project funded by the IUCN and Maurice Laing Foundation. .

In 2010 we conducted detailed population assessments at three ponds in Mangabe and developed a rapid participatory survey for use with the communities to conduct annual checks at key sites.

Since 2008 we have also assisted the Ambatovy Minerals project mitigate the impacts of open-cast mining at sites where this species occurs.